Chapleau Ojibwe First Nation is located near Chapleau, Ontario along the former Highway 129 that once led to the town. Currently the community has several buildings and homes near highway 101/129 south of the town of Chapleau.
Tribal Name: Chapleau Ojibwe First Nation
Band No. 229
Tribal Affiliation: Ojibwe
Reserve No. 61A
Name: Chapleau 61A Indian Reserve
Size: 67 ha
Reserve No. 74
Name: Chapleau 74 Indian Reserve
Size: 64.7 ha
Reserve No. 74A
Name: Chapleau 74A Indian Reserve
Size: 799.3 ha
Treaties: See below.
Population: In September, 2007, their total registered population 39, of which their on-reserve population was 30 (24 on their main Reserve).
Much of their traditional territory was ceded to the Crown under the 1850 Robinson Treaties. These treaties cover all land whose waters drain into the north shores of lakes Huron and Superior.
Chapleau Ojibwe forefathers were not, however, signatories to the Robinson Treaties, partly because Benjamin Robinson did not take the time to meet with inland First Nation communities and partly because inland First Nation leaders were reluctant to travel as a result of a cholera outbreak in 1849.
After visiting Chapleau in 1905, the Treaty No. 9 commissioners reported that it would not be necessary to negotiate a treaty with the Indian people of Chapleau as they belonged to bands residing at Moose Factory, English River and other places already under treaty.
Treaty No. 9 covers all land in the Chapleau area that drains north into James Bay.
Since large reserves had already been established in other parts of the province for the bands from which people at Chapleau had immigrated, the commissioners recommended that a small area be set aside for Chapleau Ojibwe so that they could build small houses and cultivate garden plots.
The Chapleau Ojibway Reserve was established in 1950.
Chapleau Ojibwe First Nation was moved three times before it was permanently established at its present location.
Originally, the community was based on the shores of the Chapleau River. This first community had a large population and had several homes and buildings including an Anglican and Catholic Church.
“There was a fairly large community on the shores of the Chapleau River. It had more people with several family names such as Cheese and Quakegesic, as well as Memegos.
Then the younger people moved to other communities and only a few older people lived along the river. In time these elders passed away until there were only about nine members in the community,” said Elder Memegos.
She explained that before the decline, the people led a very traditional lifestyle. They came to this community only in the summers and lived with their families on their traditional trap lines and hunting grounds in the winter.
Through her father in law, Elder Memegos had learned that the Cheese family was a prominent family in the community. She said that Simon Cheese was known by the people as the first Chief of the First Nation but she does not know if the government at the time recognized him as a community leader.
During this time there was a more traditional community leadership that was passed down through family ties.
In 1990, the community became one of the founding First Nations of the newly created Wabun Tribal Council.
The Chapleau Ojibwe First Nation is located between 50 and 350 Km from the nearest service centre to which it has year-round road access.
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